Environmental Nanoscience Facility Tender Remit. The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) is seeking a supplier to establish a NERC Environmental Nanoscience Facility. This document outlines the necessary criteria that NERC expects to be provided by such a facility. The principal remit of the facility is that it should offer extensive and state-of-the-art knowledge of nanoscience, nanotechnology, environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology, in order to characterise the physico-chemical properties of nanomaterials, as applicable to NERC science. It should address both natural and manufactured nanomaterials, and support work in aquatic (marine, freshwater, groundwater, and sediment and soil pore water), and terrestrial environments. It is expected that the facility will offer this service through both the expertise of staff and the provision of equipment. Characterisation would be offered through (although not limited to) the provision of the following services, using suitable equipment: • Particle size distribution • Aggregate size and nature • Mass and number based concentrations. • Electrophoretic mobility, zeta potential (ζ), and surface charge • Specific surface area • Solubility, and surface contamination • Size separation • Crystal structure • Surface composition (core, shell, capping agents and co-solvent) All equipment should have sufficient technical support with established analytical protocols, procedures and data-quality monitoring. Additionally, the Facility should engage in the dissemination of good practice for handling and disposal of nanomaterials, helping to drive good health and safety practice through the community. It is anticipated that to operate the Facility, the necessary staff would be 1 FTE Facility Manager, and 0.5 FTE technician. Most importantly, this would be supplemented by the necessary amount of expertise from appropriate Principal Investigators (eg physics, chemistry, chemical engineering, metallurgy, and ecotoxicology). A Facility Head, who would oversee the operations, should be a leading researcher in the area of environmental nanoscience, and contribute sufficient time and expert knowledge. The Facility should support approximately five to ten projects per year, analysing c2000-3000 sample analyses per year (including replicates and QA/QC samples) for the NERC community. Also of high importance to NERC is the hands-on training of PhD students, and provision should be made for this. The facility will be overseen by a steering committee and provide NERC with corporate output and performance measures (OPM), annual reporting, user statistics and user satisfaction as dictated by NERC policy.
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